'Millennial foodies,' feasts, and fears

A Christian Science perspective.

Back in the ’80s, my husband and I invited some friends who knew a lot about cooking trends – the editor of a food magazine, a couple who had just published a cookbook, and several other foodie friends – for a dinner party.

After a few scrumptious appetizers, we sat down for the first course – a gorgeous sweet potato-carrot soup. Everyone sang its praises and begged to know its ingredients. It all sounded fine until I got to the final ingredient – heavy cream! What? No reduction? How could we consider cream in an enlightened age? We watched the color drain from their faces as they considered their cholesterol count.

Nearly three decades later, as a recent Monitor story points out, “millennial foodies” use the Internet to readily access detailed information on where virtually every food comes from and how it is produced. While some say they make more educated choices, it hasn’t curbed our collective appetite sufficiently to bring food issues, such as rampant obesity, under control. Perhaps a fresh look at food and its place would prove helpful.

A beautifully prepared and served meal expresses creativity and tender care, attention to detail and hospitality. Some of life’s most vivid memories center on family or special occasion dinners, wedding banquets, and Thanksgiving feasts. But overemphasis on food and its consumption has a downside, too.

The problem lies with accepting popular views about food – giving it power to satisfy us or, on the contrary, fearing that what we’re eating has too much cholesterol or some other substance thought to be unhealthy. In either case, we’re allowing food to be master rather than servant. When we do this, we’re believing that it has the capacity to harm and even destroy. If possible, such a conviction would endow it with power over life.

But the fundamental truth is that we are each in fact spiritual. Christian Science teaches that all power resides with the one God, Spirit, not with matter. Over a century of healing based on the teachings and example of Christ Jesus has shown that acknowledging one’s God-given spiritual substance takes off the shackles of mortality. A greater emphasis on bad carbs and sugar levels will never net this kind of freedom. Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Monitor, wrote, “The fact is, food does not affect the absolute Life of man, and this becomes self-evident, when we learn that God is our Life” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 388).

Progressively understanding that we are nurtured by divine Spirit rather than by matter determines our health and happiness. This will lead us to wise choices about what and how much we eat, and will remind us that our spiritual substance remains untouched by food’s chemistry. In her short book, “Rudimental Divine Science,” Mrs. Eddy asks this thought-provoking question: “As power divine is the healer, why should mortals concern themselves with the chemistry of food?” (“Rudimental Divine Science,” p. 12).

To live healthier, coming to know God as our Life and focusing on our innate divinity as His expression will net greater gains than a favorable cholesterol or calorie count.

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